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UN Special Representative on Violence against children meets with adolescents at the start of her visit to Nicaragua

Managua, November 9, 2009 - The United Nations Special Representative on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais, met with Nicaraguan adolescents today at the start of a visit to their country.

Her purpose is to inform Nicaraguan children and adolescents of how the United Nations will follow up on the recommendations resulting from the World Study on Violence against Children, as well as reactivation of the monitoring of states’ compliance with those recommendations.

“We have to demonstrate to the world that together we can make a difference,” stressed Ms. Santos Pais. “Your participation is essential for following up on the study’s recommendations.”

Adolescent representatives from different Nicaraguan municipalities told Ms. Santos Pais about their own experiences with violence, the different forms of violence to which they are subjected, how they are using their participation arenas to address the problem, and their proposals for responding to it. They also discussed and suggested ways of following up on the UN’s World Study on Violence against Children, conducted in 2006.


The adolescents informed Ms. Pais of their concerns and proposals regarding domestic violence, trafficking, sexual exploitation, child labor exploitation on coffee farms, ethnic discrimination, discrimination and abuse in schools, street violence, and media’s coverage of violence.

They presented her with a pronouncement that included the following statement: “Today we want everybody to view violence as a social problem, a problem that is affecting all children and adolescents in all spheres, that stops us from growing, that has us submerged in fear and makes us believe that we are in a culture that is never going to change. Today we are demanding that civil society, the authorities and the family assume their role in applying norms that prohibit any kind of violence against children and adolescents.”

In response, the UN Special Representative expressed her satisfaction with the adolescents’ contributions and proposals, which will be used as inputs for her work.

She is also due to meet with the Nicaraguan President and ministers of state, as well as leaders from the Coordinating Group of Organizations Working for Children’s Rights (CODENI) and the media.

Nicaragua is the second country she has visited since being named by the UN Secretary General in July to follow up on the recommendations resulting from the World Study on Violence against Children.

The following are some of the conclusions of the World Study on Violence against Children:

 Provide more statistical data to reinforce the advances already made with regard to knowledge on the subject.
 Attack the causes of violence rather than just responding to the symptoms.
 Assign sufficient resources for the application of measures.
 Transfer national commitments to the local level.
 No kind of violence is justifiable; all types of violence can be prevented.
 States must work to comply with human rights obligations and guarantee protection against violence.
 All social sectors and individuals have the shared responsibility to condemn and prevent violence.
 The response must be multifaceted and reflect the different types of violence, its environment and perpetrators, always taking into account the superior interest of the child or adolescent.

For more information:

Olga Moraga , omoraga@unicef.org, UNICEF Nicaragua;
Tamar Hahn, thahn@unicef.org; UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.


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